Zoo ill-equipped to tackle exigencies

Some enclosures are in bad shape and basic infrastructures like CCTVs and wireless are defunct
Visakhapatnam: Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, Vizag is least equipped and unprepared to tackle untoward incidents like that of the escaping of a tiger from Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad. Vizag zoo curator B. Vijay Kumar, who joined office last week, conceded that some enclosures are in bad shape and basic infrastructures like CCTVs and wireless are defunct. When asked about staff members, the curator said, “We don’t have enough zoo keepers and at the same time many other posts are lying vacant. We are hopeful of filling the vacancies at the earliest.”
He lamented that the government lays little stress on forest department compared to others. “I am pained that the government does not focus much on our department while it has immense importance in terms of weather and ecological aspects,” he said. "Only god or luck can help rescue visitors if any dangerous situation arises here. I am a frequent visitor to this zoo, but am really scared after the Hyderabad zoo incident for it does not have basic arrangements to tackle untoward incidents," said a visitor S. Charan.
Deccan Chronicle did a check to learn if the zoo is safe and what sort of mechanisms are in place to tackle untoward situations. Wire-less service, for instance, is a must so that staff can ensure proper safety and protection of animals and visitors. However, the service is absent. Besides, CCTVs are few and mostly defunct. Authorities are yet to float tenders for installation of CCTVs which is must to monitor activities of animals and visitors.
Further, enclosures are in bad shape after cyclone Hudhud. The damaged ones are yet to be repaired. With huge numbers of tree uprooted in the cyclone, authorities have erected thatched houses in order to provide shelter to animals. The bird enclosures have suffered maximum damage. Ecological system of the zoo has also deteriorated following the cyclone.
Staff shortage also is another major problem. There are just 10 zoo keepers against the sanctioned 25. Similarly, there are 15 Non Muster Roll (NMR) employees though 22 have been sanctioned. Besides, the zoo does not have beat officers and authorities are delaying the recruitment.
( Source : deccan chronicle )
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